When was the last time you vacationed with family? Not just a getaway with your significant other and the kids, but one that includes other relatives? It happened to me, actually it was a planned vacation.
Here’s how my vacation began…
It was the cruise of a lifetime. We traveled with 682 folks who were a group ballroom dancers and steppers. My mother and uncle are seasoned ballroom dancers, but my brother, my other uncle and I were along for the family camaraderie.
I should have known from the turbulence in the air on our flight to Florida, that my trip would be rocky. On the airplane, I sat next to a husband and wife. I had the window seat, the husband was in the middle and the wife was on the aisle.
At one point, we hit a lot of turbulence and the wife screamed and grabbed her husband’s arm. I just shut my eyes tight and grabbed her husband’s other arm. I apologized once the turbulence ended. We chatted after that and I had made new friends.
Tip #1 – Don’t be afraid to make friends
My family and I, along with 100 or so others in our group spent the night at a hotel the day before our cruise was to leave.
With so many people in our traveling party, there were 3 buses and 3 time frames that the buses traveled from the hotel to the port we were leaving from. No one from my family was scheduled to leave the hotel at the same time I was scheduled.
My mom went to the waiting area with me to see if they would allow her to board with me. I wanted someone else to go with me because I was unfamiliar with the process and my mom and uncle have traveled with this group for the past few years.
We waited along the side walk until the leader told us we could board. After a few minutes, the leader made an announcement. “If your ticket does NOT say 9:30, you will not be allowed to board the bus.”
The line began to move. I told mom, “I guess I’ll see you at the port.”
I pulled my luggage behind me slowly. You would have thought I was 5 years old and not 51. I felt like I was being torn from my mother. I almost reached out like an actress in a movie and said, “Mama.”
Tip #2 – Relax, don’t sweat the small stuff.
Once aboard the ship, it was smooth sailing…almost. On the fourth day of the cruise the ship docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico. My family and I disembarked together ready for an adventure. As we walked the quarter mile from the ship to our destination, right in front of us was our first tourist stop - Walgreen’s Drug Store.
I said to my brother, “Really…we came all the way to San Juan to shop at Walgreens? Can we go somewhere else first?”
I actually made a purchase while we were there – a few souvenirs and some candy, so all was not lost.
Once we left Walgreen’s we hopped on a tour bus a wonderful experience. We saw Old San Juan, visited historic areas and walked along a beach.
All in all if was a fantastic trip.
Tip #3 – Live, love, laugh – it’s okay to laugh at yourself
What tips do you have for creating a memorable vacation?